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AD-3W / AD-4W / AD-5W / EA-1E Skyraider radar picket

The first prototype aircraft, designated XAD-1W flew in 1949. It was a three-place unarmed early warning aircraft, with two radar station operators and AN / APS-20 navigation and search radar in a huge fairing under the fuselage. A small series of 30 aircraft produced a version of long-range radar detection AD-3W. Under the fuselage of each of them, a bulky fairing of the rotating AN / APS-20 radar antenna was suspended. The unusual appearance of the aircraft, reminiscent of the famous aquarium fish, was the reason for the playful nickname - "Guppy". The reconnaissance crew consisted of three people: a pilot and two operators of airborne equipment, one of which was observing the air situation, and the other was in constant radio communication with an aircraft carrier or airplanes in the air.

By June 1945 the first group of extensively modified Carrier Airborne Early Warning (AEW) TBM-3W AVENGERS was conducting trials onboard USS RANGER (CV 61). The war ended before the first AEW units could see action2 however, Fleet Aviation Electronics Training Units (FAETU1s) were established on both coasts and continued to train pilots, operators, and maintenance personnel on AEW equipment. VAW-1 on the West Coast and VAW-2 on tpe East Coast were formed to replace

To improve the stability of the machine on its stabilizer fixed small fixed vertical surfaces. Armament was not installed on the AD-3W. Two underwing wings were used to suspend fuel tanks. During the operation of the aircraft, an attempt was made to use the capabilities of an airborne radar in conjunction with a magnetic detector to search for submarines.

Two aircraft underwent modernizations and received the designation AD-3E (factory numbers 122906 and 122907). According to the military plan, these aircraft were to report the coordinates of the located submarines to special destruction aircraft. These two aircraft were created on the basis of night attack aircraft Skyraider, assigning them the designation AD-3S. At the end of the test program, one AD-3S was equipped with an AN / APS-31 radar to investigate the possibility of using one universal aircraft instead of two different modifications.

The AD-4W, the long-range radar (radar) radar equipped with the AN / APS-20A radar, was a modification of the AD-4, its characteristics were greatly improved, compared to the AD-3W radar. Thus, the transmitter power, according to American sources, was reduced to one megawatt. Such a high value seems very doubtful, given that the power of most modern ground-based radars manufactured without significant limitations in size and mass does not exceed several hundred kilowatts.

Vibrations of the bulky fairing and shading of the view by the fuselage and wings greatly reduced the range and quality of detection of air targets. Despite this, the aircraft was widely used in Korea. The AD-3W and AD-4W were constantly "suspended" in the air and warned ships of the approach of enemy aircraft.

Following the Korean War, VC-12 continued to operate an improved verson of the "Guppy Spad", the AD-5W, until 1960 when they were traded for the new WF-2 TRACER (Willy Fudd), later redesignated as the E-1B. The AD-5W (Redesignated EA-1E) was an airborne early warning version. A redesign of the aircraft, the AD-5 incorporated side by side seating for an assistant pilot. The revised crew arrangement facilitated all-weather operation and permitted utilization for long range navigation, radar search, spotting and observation, air support coordination, instrument training, pilot familiarization and other operations requiring a second crew member. Controls, armament and tactical equipment were located for single pilot operation.

The British, who showed great interest to the AD-4W, obtained permission to purchase fifty such aircraft. In English carrier aviation, they received the designation AEW.1. Of these, only 20 aircraft were new, the rest were transferred directly from the combat units of American deck aviation. In the period from 1960 to 1962, the AEW.1 Skyraider was removed from service and replaced with new turboprops AEW.2 "Gannet" (designation AEW.2 carried the basic four-engine plane "Shackleton"). The version of the long-range radar detection AD-5W (239 cars) was also produced. Since 1962 they have become known as EA-1E.

AD-3W  AD-3W AD-4W AD-5W AD-5W

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Page last modified: 07-09-2018 07:20:46 ZULU